Fire Protection Technology Was on Display in Las Vegas

As the development of these systems expand along with artificial intelligence (AI), video systems will be able to detect the early stages of a fire.

The ISC West Expo in Las Vegas has come and gone. The Expo was back to its pre-Covid days, with the first two days of the trade show being packed. It took me just short of an hour to pick up my credential to obtain admittance.

More centered on security than fire protection systems, the ISC event was primarily focused on video surveillance systems, the Cloud and cybersecurity. While one may not think of fire protection systems when walking past all of the vendors that had these products out for inspection, this is not the case.

As I have mentioned in past articles, at some time in the not-too-distant future the use of video for fire detection will become an accepted means. Several companies at ISC West were showing video systems that could detect radiant or thermal energy. At this time, the products were for the detection of a person or persons that may be moving through a field of view – but as the development of these systems expand along with artificial intelligence (AI), video systems will be able to detect the early stages of a fire. This could be for selected locations within a protected premises, or for an entire space in which the video images could be used for volume detection, which is detection within the full field of view.

The Cloud, Cybersecurity and More

The use of video will also play an important part regarding remote inspections and testing, as is being developed through NFPA 915, Standard for Remote Inspections. The first edition of this standard will be considered for adoption at the June NFPA Annual Meeting. Though the principal means of video will be through the use of a smart phone or pad, video systems that are installed within an occupancy could also be used, depending on the view that’s being provided.

The Cloud and the transmission of signals from a protected premises through a Cloud-based solution is being addressed within the next edition of NFPA 72, National Code for Fire Alarm and Signaling Systems. Several task groups within Chapter 26 are working on revisions to the Standard to address how Cloud-based transmissions are to be handled, not only by the supervising station but within the Cloud technology. I’ll be expanding on this in a future article once the task groups have completed their work.

Cybersecurity is also coming to the next edition of NFPA 72. In the 2022 edition, a new chapter was developed: Chapter 11, Cybersecurity. However, as this was new to 72, the language within Chapter 11 is contained within the Annex. Thus, the term “should” as opposed to “shall” is used. The 2025 edition will find that the requirements for cybersecurity are being moved to the main body of the Standard, so that “shall” as opposed to “should” will be in use. I’ll author a future article regarding these requirements after the Second Draft Technical Committee meetings are conducted later this year.

Technology’s Rapid Pace

While ISC West was being held in Las Vegas, the International Wireless Communications Expo (IWCE) was also being conducted in town. It’s at this show that Emergency Radio Communication Enhancement Systems (ERCES) are displayed, often referred to as bi-directional amplifiers (BDA). Just about every manufacturer of these systems has a booth at this show.

As I have reported in the past, the use of these systems within buildings will increase over the coming years through changes within the fire codes and the work of the Safer Buildings Coalition. NICET now has a new certification for the installation and design of these systems, and UL Solutions is also rolling out a certification program for installed systems, similar to their program for fire alarm and intrusion detection systems.

It was convenient to have both of these trade shows in progress at the same time. In 2024, however, the IWCE will be moving to Orlando while ISC West will be taking place in Las Vegas. I will need to make a decision as to which show to attend, or take a “red eye” so as to be able to attend both.

At both ISC West and IWCE, it was evident that technology is advancing at a very rapid pace. I expect the same will be true at the upcoming NFPA Expo, which takes place June 19-21 in Las Vegas.


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About the Author


Shane Clary, Ph.D., is Security Sales & Integration’s “Fire Side Chat” columnist. He has more than 37 years of security and fire alarm industry experience. He serves on a number of NFPA technical committees, and is vice president of Codes and Standards Compliance for Pancheco, Calif.-based Bay Alarm Co.

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